Monday, February 27, 2017


THE HUMAN SURGE (2016, Eduardo Williams, Argentina/Brazil/Portugal)

Eduardo Williams’ stunning debut feature takes us on a remarkable journey around the globe, spanning three continents. THE HUMAN SURGE is structured in three parts starting off in Argentina (Buenos Aires) before moving to Mozambique (Maputo) and finishing its whirlwind global tour in the Philippine province of Bohol. In each of its three segments, the film depicts young people who are either trying to make ends meet by taking on different jobs or those who are in between jobs. Technology plays a key part in these different jobs and that also nicely ties in with the film's theme of exploring the impact of the internet and computers in our modern world. The film depicts an entire global cycle of jobs from manufacturing of computer parts all the way to how people use computers and the internet to earn money.

The internet and its wired/wireless network allows people to easily communicate around the world, thereby shrinking our planet. Williams has smartly used this network connectivity and shrinking of the world to depict jaw-dropping original cinematic transitions between the three parts. He has even managed to plug nature and its picturesque landscapes into our wired world. The end result is a film that is never short on movement, as it follows its characters through a network of paths, ranging from almost invisible paths to rugged larger-than-life trails.

Each path and subsequent journey is crafted with its own unique visual technique. The Argentine segment is filmed using 16 mm, while the images in Mozambique are filmed with an inventive mix of a Blackmagic pocket camera and 16mm, and a RED camera captures the tiniest details of the lovely Philippine environment. As a result, each segment has its own distinguishing colour palette and texture which matches the rhythm of the story. In keeping pace with its characters and the story, the camera is never static but hovers and wanders around its characters. In some sequences, the camera is freed from the confines of space and time thereby achieving movements that defy belief.

The end result is a film that takes us on a breathtaking journey of our non-stop, constantly shifting world. Winner of the Golden Leopard award in the Filmmakers of the present category at the Locarno Film Festival, THE HUMAN SURGE signals the arrival of a talented new director.

Essential reading about the film:

2. Max Nelson in Film Comment


HOMO SAPIENS (2016, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Austria/Switzerland/Germany)

In 2006, ruins were a tiny portion of Jia Zhang-ke's STILL LIFE and Pedro Costa's COLOSSAL YOUTH. But a decade later, they are the main focus of HOMO SAPIENS, an absolutely stunning documentary from Nikolaus Geyrhalter.

The film is a haunting and beautiful glimpse of our world without humans. We see real locations that are either abandoned or in a state of ruin. The film lets the everyday sounds filter in, sometimes the noisy waves or winds or in some cases birds flying in and out of the spaces. The end result is mesmerizing, engaging and contemplative. The film provides us enough moments to see our world with new eyes, complete with its waste and needless objects. It also gives a snapshot of what would happen if people had to leave a location immediately and what they would leave behind.

At times, the images evoke the Zone in STALKER and SATANTANGO. In this regard, we are given a view into the ultimate apocalyptic event without the usage of any special effects.

One of the best films of 2016!